YouTube allows users to upload videos they create. It also allows users to comment on other users' videos, highlight videos as favorites, and embed videos in external websites. Media organizations, such as television channels, movie production houses, musicians, and theater companies often use YouTube as a way to distribute clips and promote upcoming programs, concerts, or events.
Through its nonprofit program, YouTube allows organizations to build customizable profiles called channels. In addition to uploading videos, organizations can add logos, branded colors, and positioning messages on their channels.
What it’s Good For
Unlike other social media, YouTube is a specialized platform for sharing video content. As such, it is an extremely powerful tool, allowing organizations to distribute their content, both over YouTube’s site and on other websites using the embedded video feature. Organizations with significant video content have had great success using YouTube to distribute their content.
What it’s Not Good For
While YouTube does provide commenting features similar to Facebook’s comments, YouTube’s community tends to be less robust than other social media platforms. In particular, since any YouTube user can comment on any video, staff members must be extremely vigilant to ensure that all comments are constructive and not offensive.
Notable YouTube Features
One of the easiest ways to augment a video on YouTube is to add "Annotations" to an existing video. Annotations are simply text added on top of the video. You can use annotations to note who is speaking, their location, facts about your program, websites people should visit for additional information, and more.
Video editing is often expensive and time consuming process. Recognizing this obstacle, Youtube has rolled out a new "Video Editing" feature on the site, allowing you to assemble video clips into a comprehensive video. While the end product will not have the same bells and whistles as professional developed videos, YouTube video editing is free and easy to learn.
Video Captions and Subtitles
Often it is necessary to add captions or subtitles to a video. While captions, subtitles, and annotations are all text added to video, they are not the same. Captions and subtitles, unlike annotations, can be turned of and are used primarily for the hearing impaired or multiple languages in a single video.
If you are using federal funds to produce the video or you are placing it on a website that is federally funded, you must comply with all federal regulations regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act including adding captions to videos. If you would like to learn more about Section 508 Compliance, please visit http://www.section508.gov
One of the most useful (and most used) features of YouTube is the "Embed Video" function. Instead of having to send people to YouTube to view your videos, you can embed them directly onto your website. The video come with a player so visitors can watch them without ever having to navigate away from your site.
Below is an example of an embedded YouTube Video: